PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A substitute middle school teacher is facing child pornography charges after police say they found more than 50 photos of children on his cell phone.

According to the criminal complaint, 26-year-old Matthew Sokol of Pittsburgh’s South Side is charged with sexual abuse of children – possession of child pornography and sexual abuse of children – dissemination of photographs, videotapes and computer.

He’s been a long-term science substitute teacher in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District since 2012, officials said.

Police say Sokol told them he teaches seventh and eighth grade students in the district.

“At this point, he will no longer be working within the Baldwin-Whitehall School District, or at any of our schools,” Dr. Randall Lutz, the school district’s superintendent.

Police and the FBI Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force served a search warrant today at Sokol’s home.

The criminal complaint reports Sokol told police he allegedly had a Twitter account that was suspended in July with the handle, “playfulteacher.”

Sokol told investigators, according to the criminal complaint, that “he had searched on Twitter for images of children as young as 8-years-old that involved children naked and/or engaging in sexual acts.” Police say he then saved those photos on his cell phone.

The criminal complaint reports police found “in excess of 50 images of prepubescent and pubescent children” in a folder located on Sokol’s cell phone.

According to the criminal complaint, Sokol told authorities he started “looking at child pornography approximately five years ago when he was in college.”

He also told police, according to the criminal complaint, that this was allegedly his “fetish thing.”

The criminal complaint reports he told investigators, “It is at home, my personal life, that is how I justify it. As long as it is my personal collection, it is okay. As long as I am not having sex with children and not taking the pictures, it is not illegal what I am doing.”

According to the criminal complaint, Sokol told investigators that he doesn’t have any photos of his students.

“At this point, we have no indication that any of our children have been impacted in any way, so not during the course of the student’s day, the teacher’s day or using our equipment,” said Dr. Lutz.

Parents in the school district will be getting notices that there is an investigation and it is ongoing.

Sokol is now in police custody.

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